“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Prepare the Way
In the ancient world, before the king came to town, major road work had to be done. There was no interstate freeway system. Instead, workers went ahead of the king and made a smooth path to his destination. Low points were filled in, high points were leveled, and crooked paths were straightened.
So do you see the point of today’s Bible passage? King Jesus was coming, and John the Baptist had some road construction to do. But he was not altering the topography of Palestine. He was altering the human heart and cleared the way for people to believe in Jesus.
By nature, the human heart is a horrible barrier between King Jesus and his people. By nature, every inclination of thoughts of the heart is opposed to the will of God. It was true in John’s day, and it is still true in our day.
John prepared hearts through preaching a simple message: “Repent!” Repentance is a change of mind that God works in you. He leads you to hate your sin and trust in Jesus for forgiveness. Repentance is not a one-time thing. It needs to happen continually because the devil, the world, and your sinful nature are constantly working to unprepare your heart and turn you back to your sin.
Do not let them! Whatever sins haunt your heart, turn from them. Turn from them and turn to Jesus who has provided forgiveness for every sin. As God comforts you with this reality, he will also give you the strength to stay away from those sins today. And the way will be prepared to celebrate the arrival of your King.
King Jesus, keep my heart prepared to meet you. Amen.